Saving tigers: A special offer



Posted on 24 December 2012  | 
By Adam Barralet, Author and volunteer at Caversham Wildlife Park

Adam Barralet

Buy one and get one free. Purchase in bulk and save. This offer includes a free set of steak knives. I love a special offer as much as everyone else but today I have one of the best offers you’ll ever hear. Give me a chance to explain – I promise I will eventually meander my way to the point.

In past decades we have seen the extinction of some iconic animals; species like the Javan and Bali tiger have been declared extinct and vanished off the face of the Earth forevermore. Although we have increased our conservation efforts in recent years we still have work to do. This is evident as the Javan rhinoceros was declared extinct just last year when it was believed the last remaining animal was shot by poachers.

At the present one of WWF Australia’s focuses is the Survival Appeal. They are focusing on five iconic species; the Borneo orang-utan, the giant panda, polar bears, black-footed wallabies and an animal I have long felt a connection to – tigers.

As a child growing up I was always fascinated by animals. I loved their unique abilities, their personalities, their colours and loved the idea of all the different animals spread around the world. Then there comes an age when you realise that animals are not as abundant as original thought. For me this came when I saw a sign at the Perth Zoo tiger enclosure. Here it listed the eight species of tiger. Then it showed how many were left and how much of the tiger habitat had been lost due to the encroachment of humans. It was then I realised that humans and animals were not cohabitating harmoniously around the world.


I have always been attracted to the majestic manner of the tiger. One moment I will always treasure happened just two years ago during my time as a volunteer at Toronto Zoo. I had ended my shift on a cold winter day. The ground was covered with snow and the massive zoo was practically empty as the only people brave enough to venture out from their warm and comfortable homes on this wild day were the keepers and crazy volunteers. I walked over to visit one of the Amur Tigers (once called Siberian tiger but name was changed because their range has reduced from throughout Siberia to just the region surrounding the Amur River). I stood at the fence but couldn’t see him. No one else around and the snowfall stifled any sounds from nearby. Then suddenly he came bounding over the hill and stood right in front of me, staring straight into my eyes, separated only by wire mesh. He refused to look aside and I started to walk and he followed. For what seemed like ages I walked back and forwards around the perimeter of his enclosure and he followed, turning when I turned, stopping when I did. It really felt that day that I was walking through the forest with a tiger. I felt a bond and I’ll never forget it.


But what about this great deal I mentioned? Tigers are referred to as a keystone species. A keystone species is a species that plays a major role within an environment or ecosystem. Such species play a critical role in maintaining the structure of an ecological community, affecting many other organisms in an ecosystem and helping to determine the types and numbers of various other species in the community.

By protecting tigers and the habitats in which they live you are also ensuring the survival of the Amur Leopard, the Red-crowned Crane , the Oriental White Stork, the Ussurian Asiatic Black Bear as well as many other animals and plants found only in the areas where tigers roam. So the great deal is SAVE THE TIGER AND SAVE MANY OTHER SPECIES TOO! You can do this by supporting WWF’s work to double tiger numbers by 2022.

Maybe in ten years time when I take my children to Perth Zoo, they can see a new sign which shows how much the tiger range has grown in the last decade.

Click here if you want to help WWF protect these big cats before it’s really too late. Your donation gift to WWF will help to save some of the Earth’s most magnificent animals by protecting their habitats, reducing threats like the illegal wildlife trade, and empowering local communities to save the animals that they share the land with.

About Adam Barralet:

Adam Barralet’s relationship with WWF began in 2007, when he hosted a radio show on Melbourne’s JOY 94.9. The show looking at green and environmental issues and success, regularly featured interviews with members of the WWF Australia team. While living in North America for the last two years he was involved in social media for an array of organisations concerned with animal rights to global travel as well as donating his time as a tour guide at Toronto Zoo. Now Adam is glad to be back in Australia, facilitating life skills to children, working on his first book and volunteering at Caversham Wildlife Park. He continues to run his blog, originally a spin off from his radio show. 

Sign at Perth Zoo, showing tiger populations and habitat loss
© Adam Barralet Enlarge
Two India tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) fighting in the water Bangkok Zoo, Thailand
© Martin Harvey / WWF-Canon Enlarge

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